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TON HUMBOM3T.                 811
one of these. He required to be thoroughly known,
and more tlian known, really felt. Whoever was not
enchanted with him In the first days of acquaintance,
and whoever did not prove at once that he possessed
the sense for comprehending him, with such an one
every discussion was vain, as I often convinced myself.
It is, therefore, not possible that any description
could exist which should give his trae inner being, one
of the most remarkable which has ever existed on
earth., combined of a melancholy sweetness and gen-
tleness, and the most indomitable courage/" "We may
be permitted here to insert an anecdote which
Schlabrendorf told of his friend* ce In Paris/7 he says,
" there lives a count K% a very good mart, as I tfoxak,
but weak. Once, when he had just left my room,
Humboldt said, Eln is a very good soul, but I would
rather be his father than his son. I could not help
langhing at the idea ; but there is deep thought in it.
I called upon Humboldt in joke to name one person
among his circle, whose son he would like to be from
choice, and whom he would love with pure gratitude/'
Probably, in 1798, Humboldt would have chosen none
but Schiller.
The French world, in which Humboldt now for the
second time lived., was full of interest and excitement.
A new social life commenced with the political apathy
under the Directory., and survived its fall. Manners^
laws, and intellectual life were confirmed, and every-
thing began to adopt that physiognomy which charac-
terizes modem France. The representative of this
change was a great woman, daughter of the revolu-
tionary minister IsTeeker, and wife of the Swedish
ambassador, Baron von StaeL She was one of the
greatest literary capaciti.es of these years; and, as sucl%
could not escape Humboldfe's attention. He esteeiaei
her highly, and praised her works. Madame de Steel
was an enthusiastic admirer of Humboldt, and
Mm always, la pl^s gramde ca/padtif dfe
She was not less intimate with MadMae von